One major source of entertainment on television is primarily enabled through Pay TV subscriptions, which is a system of broadcasting where users pay to access particular program packages or channels on TV.
Television has been a major source of entertainment and dissemination of information in the world as we know it. Since its inception, the television has quickly become one of the most sought-after electronic devices in the world today. In Nigeria, a survey conducted in 2022 saw that most of the households in the country had televisions, with 70.4 percent of the respondents living in urban areas, while 36 percent declared that someone else in their households had a TV.
One major source of entertainment on television is primarily enabled through Pay TV subscriptions, which is a system of broadcasting where users pay to access particular program packages or channels on TV. This has been in existence since the early 2000’s in Africa, when the South African company, Multichoice, first broke out in select countries, offering a plethora of bouquets suitable for all ages.
Subsequently, Africa has seen the number of its Pay TV subscribers increase over time from the 11 million Pay TV subscriptions about a decade ago. Today, Africa is estimated to add about 18 million Pay TV subscribers by 2027, taking the total number of subscribers to 57 million, a 46% increase over this period. Three groups account for 90% of Africa’s Pay TV subscribers. Multichoice, through its DStv and GOtv platforms, will continue to lead - with 20.8 million subscribers expected by 2027. StarTimes (18.4 million) and Canal Plus (11.2 million) will follow. However, Pay TV revenues will reach $6.46 billion by 2027, a 35% rise from $4.78 billion in 2021 signaling a drop in the price of Pay TV subscriptions.
Although the Pay TV subscribers keep increasing in Africa, the number of pay TV households in the US is expected to keep falling, reaching 57.2 million by 2026. Comcast Corporation, the most popular provider in the US has only 17.5 million pay TV subscribers as of December 2021. The number of subscribers has slipped significantly in recent years, with no provider having more than 20 million subscribers, and a total subscriber base of 70.4 million people in the US.
This occurrence can be tied to several factors, one of which is the emergence of streaming on-demand platforms, like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, which offer the content you want to watch, anytime you want to watch it. According to Netflix, one in two households in the US and Canada has a Netflix subscription, bringing the total subscribers to more than 67 million in North America and over 100 million worldwide, accounting for approximately 12 billion hours of content streamed in 2019.
However, the case is different in Africa, with data prices generally still high in Africa it will take a while for on-demand streaming platforms to take control of the industry. Currently, Netflix subscriptions in Africa was estimated to reach 2.6 million subscriptions by the end of 2021, accounting for about half of the subscribers of streaming on demand in Africa, with numbers projected to double 5.8 million in 2026. Hence, consumers continue to opt for Pay TV, which has no use for the internet connections and will often come with a variety of channels from children’s TV to sports. It remains to be seen if streaming subscriptions will eventually come to surpass Pay TV in Africa too.